Ohio2006 Blog

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Monday, May 8

A Good Primary for Current and Former Officeholders [Updated]

In covering this year's primaries I couldn't help noticing how many current officeholders were running for different positions (mostly due to term limits), and how many former officeholders were returning to the campaign trail. How did they do?

Very well. It was a nearly perfect primary election for current state senators running for a different office. Marc Dann (D-Youngstown) won his primary for Attorney General by a huge margin, Charlie Wilson (D-St. Clairsville) won his write-in campaign in the 6th Congressional District in spectacular fashion, Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) prevailed comfortably over a crowded field in the Republican primary for the 4th Congressional District, Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown) defeated four primary opponents in the Ohio House 60th District quite handily, Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) sailed to a primary win in the Ohio House 75th District, and Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) breezed to the Ohio House 71st District nomination without primary opposition. The only state senators to fall short were Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland), who could not overcome former Attorney General Betty Montgomery in the Republican primary for that office, and Joy Padgett (R-Coshocton), who failed to gain the nomination for Lieutenant Governor.

It was also a fantastic primary election for current state representatives, unless they had the misfortune of competing against another state representative. House Speaker Charles Blasdel (R-East Liverpool) won his primary in the 6th Congressional District, Tom Raga (R-Mason) won the nomination for Lieutenant Governor, Barbara Sykes (D-Akron) and Mary Taylor (R-Uniontown) each gained nominations for State Auditor without primary opposition, and Lance Mason (D-Shaker Heights) and John Boccieri (D-Youngstown) likewise faced no primary opposition in winning the Ohio Senate 25th and 33rd District nominations, respectively. It was only when current state representatives faced each other that the spell was broken. Stephen Buehrer (R-Delta) beat James Hoops (R-Napoleon) in the Ohio Senate 1st District, Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland) beat Annie L. Key (D-Cleveland) in the Ohio Senate 21st District, and Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) beat Ron Hood (R-Ashville) in the Ohio Senate 31st District. To be fair, however, I should point out that a number of current state representatives pulled out of races: Claudette Woodard (D-Cleveland Heights) withdrew from the Ohio Senate 21st District primary, Jim Trakas (R-Independence) dropped out of the Secretary of State primary, Mike Gilb (R-Findlay) quit the 4th Congressional District primary, and Sylvester Patton (D-Youngstown) did not file for the Ohio Senate 33rd District primary after saying he would run.

Former state representatives returning to politics did not fare quite so well. Betty Sutton (D-Barberton) won the 13th Congressional District primary and Barbara Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) and Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) each won primaries for their former seats (9th and 44th Districts), and William Batchelder (R-Medina) and Darrell Opfer (D-Oak Harbor) won nominations for the Ohio House without primary opposition (69th and 82nd Districts), but Bryan Flannery (D-Strongsville) couldn't win the gubernatorial nomination, Ron Mottl (who also served in Congress and the Ohio Senate) lost in the Ohio House 18th District, and Erin Sullivan Lally (D-Cleveland) finished third in the Ohio House 14th District.

As to current and former Congressmen and Mayors, in case you were wondering, it was a very mixed bag. Current Congressmen Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) and Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) won nominations for Governor and Senator, and former Congressman Bob Shamansky (D-Columbus) won big in the 12th Congressional District primary, but former Congressmen Bob McEwen (R-Hillsboro) and Tom Sawyer (D-Akron) couldn't pull out a victory in the 2nd or 13th Congressional Districts. I'm not sure that I have complete information about mayors, but current mayor Joe Sulzer (D-Chillicothe) lost in the 18th Congressional District and former mayor Charles Sanders (D) finished last in the 3rd Congressional District, while current mayor Craig Foltin (R-Lorain) won in the 13th Congressional District, former mayor Dale Henry (D-Springfield) won in the Ohio House 72nd District, and current mayors Donald McLaurin (R-Trotwood) and Donald Gadd (R-Byesville) won nominations without primary opposition in the Ohio Senate 5th District and Ohio House 92nd District, respectively.

I have corrected the above text to reflect the fact that Joy Padgett (R-Coshocton) is a state senator, not a state representative as I had mistakenly indicated.

Thinking this over, the real subtext here is the ineffectiveness of term limits. If the point of term limits was to ease incumbents out of office in order to make way for fresh blood, it isn't exactly working out that way. It appears that most term-limited officeholders are simply running for different elected positions, where they enjoy much the same advantage over newcomers that incumbents do when running for reelection. The result is a swirling of veteran politicians from office to office. Just think for a second about the three current state senators who are running for the Ohio House of Representatives (Hagan, Hottinger and Wachtmann): not something we saw before term limits came in. And think of the musical chairs effect we've seen in the executive branch during the past decade. Did the proponents of term limits anticipate that? I doubt it.


At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It did occur to me to wonder whether Hood's vanquisher, Tim Schaffer, was even MORE anti-gay that he is. I went to his campaign site and he seems to not have addressed the issue of gays at all. He's mostly focused on lower taxes and helping stimulate the economy. He's predictably pro-gun and anti-choice. And he touts stellar accomplishments such as this one: "Successfully removed the U.S. Rt. 33 lights at Ebright Road and Cemetery Road. He wants continue removing these dangerous traffic lights on U.S. Rt. 33 and making other improvements to the highway to make it "4 lanes to the river."


At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first post seems to have gotten lost. That was the one where I took note that RON HOOD was defeated, the first I'd heard of it!!!!! YAY!!!!! He was the one, of course, who introduced the odious anti-gay fostering and adoption bill. He'll now have plenty of time to adopt some of the 3,000 children waiting for permanent families in ohio or take in a few of the 20,000-plus kids who need foster homes! Yeah, as if.

At 7:38 PM, Blogger Publius said...

Schaffer is fairly moderate.

If you've never experienced the traffic nightmare that is St Rte 33 from Columbus to Lancaster during rush hour, then you wouldn't understand why this issue is web-site worthy.

Believe me- it is ABSOLUTELY web-site worthy!

Hood is beyond conservative. He makes look like Ted Kennedy. He's also more of an obstructionist than a conservative. He votes 'no' on every bill. To me, that's not doing the job.


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